As their front office went to work drafting five college pitchers, the Royals' current pitching staff allowed 14 hits as they lost to the Angels 9-6 on Monday night.
Rookie reliever Tim Hill gave up consecutive RBI hits to Mike Trout and Justin Upton in the eighth inning of what was then a tied ballgame. Trout broke the 6-6 deadlock, and Upton and Albert Pujols padded the lead with run-scoring singles of their own.
The Royals mustered 12 hits but left eight on base.
"We scored some runs early and I liked our at-bats early," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But I just thought that offensively, it's one of those nights where I don't really lament any opportunities missed."
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy labored through five-plus innings, throwing 99 pitches and issuing three walks without recording a strikeout. He allowed four runs and exited with a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning. Royals reliever Kevin McCarthy yielded an RBI single each to Trout and Pujols, taking Duffy out of the decision.
Royals catcher Salvador Perez tied the score with a homer in the seventh inning, but the lead dissipated soon after.
What went wrong: Royals pitchers struggled to command the strike zone all game long. Duffy fell behind hitters and had trouble locating his fastball.
Same for Hill, who issued back-to-back walks on 13 pitches to start the eighth inning.
"We struggled commanding the ball all game," Yost said.
Up next: The Royals, who dropped to 21-39, will start rookie Brad Keller in the second game of this West Coast road trip at 9 p.m. Tuesday.